I’m actually a little surprised the pro-abortion activists are going this route. As Bismarck Tribune reporter Nick Smith posted on Twitter, petitions to refer the three pro-life bills already signed by Governor Jack Dalrymple to the ballot were filed with the Secretary of State today.
— Nick Smith (@NSmithReports) April 2, 2013
Putting these bills on the ballot will require 13,452 signatures each, and I don’t doubt that with the backing of pro-abortion activist groups like Planned Parenthood that they’ll be able to get those signatures. And, no doubt, they rushed to filed these petitions before the legislature passes some of the new and restrictive laws on petitioning being considered in the current session.
The referendum must be filed, with the signatures, within 90 days of the governor signing the legislation. That happened on March 26th, so the petitioners would need their signatures by June 24th.
Again, I think they’ll probably get them, but here’s where they’re rolling the dice: What if North Dakota’s voters uphold the laws? That seems likely as these bills passed with bi-partisan, veto-proof majorities (or close to it) in the legislature.
But the pro-abortion folks have a lot of money, and they have the state’s media and editorial boards on their side, and maybe they’re hoping to steam roll opposition. And maybe it’s a good move for them. The bills won’t actually take effect until August, so they can’t initiate any lawsuits until then anyway.
Yet, a big loss on the November ballot would sure take the wind out of their sails.
Regardless, after a rough campaign cycle last year, North Dakotans are going to see another tough campaign year, though focused more on issues than candidates.